The Total Recall


Artist touch: Unlike some of the lazy artwork on a lot of Sega Master System games (i.e. Black Belt and Wonderboy), this art looks pretty good here. The Double Dragon art here shows both detailed foreground and background to match the urban feel of the game itself. Cover art rating: 7/10
Month it won: October 2006

(Sega/Techos, 1989)
Special note: Double Dragon was so popular it was released on several different consoles like the NES, Atari 2600, Atari 7800, Sega Genesis, and many more.
Introduction and Story:
One of my favourite arcade games growing up was definitely a very cool beat them up called Double Dragon. In it you or a friend use a wide range of special moves and weapons to smack around a bunch of deadly crooks in dangerous interactive environments. I was really excited when the game was ported home to my Nintendo Entertainment System in the late 1980's but they took out the fun two player co-op game, the new stages sucked and they added this stupid feature where you have to unlock moves before you can use them. I was hoping the popular Sega Master System edition would be a lot better thanks to its colourful visuals and full 2 player support. Unfortunately, what could have been a great translation of a fun arcade beat em up ended up being a bitter disappointment instead and a perfect choice for the Dud of the Month.

In the game you play as one of two martial arts experts (Jimmy or Billy Lee) and they are on a mission to clean up their crime invested streets. The whole situation just became a lot more personal when their very hot friend Maria gets kidnapped. You actually see one of the gang members punch poor Maria in the stomach here and just walk off with her while the others watch. This special scene here really got a lot of attention and controversy because it not only showed violence against women in a video game but Maria was also wearing a super short mini skirt at the time and you can actually see her sexy white panties in the original arcade game. Sadly you don't see her cute panties in this version but you still get see Maria get knocked out. It just goes to show you that violence against women is OK but just don't have sexy thoughts of them. I don't get it either. Anyway though, if someone hits my cute girlfriend and take her away; it is so on! It won't be easy (or fun) to save her because you have to go through four different stages before you can find the evil mastermind if you want to get your girl back you got to do it.
Here is the cool arcade version....
...and here is the lame SMS edition.
Controls and Game Play:  
The story is the same as the arcade game but the new down graded two button control system here is just horrible. Although you can do all the game's famous special techniques like jump kicks, head butts and throws, Sega reedited them all so they are much harder to do on these small SMS controllers. Just try doing a elbow strike on the fly in this mess now for example?

If that wasn't bad enough you can even punch right through enemies and do no damage if you are too close. The collision detection is just God awful here! There are weapons spread out through the game to help out a bit but not by much. Although this game supports two player co-op play unlike the lame NES version, it really doesn't make the game any better since no one will want to play this crap with you.
This isn't the first time Maria got censored. Here is the Japanese cover for Double Dragon II...
...and here is the North American cover art. Notice the difference in her butt?
Graphics and Sounds:  

This is the end of level 2 here, right? Where's the dam conveyer belt!?
The game actually fools you into thinking it's good with some detailed and colourful background art in the case screen shots but just wait till you play it. If you and a friend do decide to play together the game will suffer heavily from an insane amount of flickers and slow game play. That's isn't the only problem either. The many different characters here now appear to be a lot shorter so all these tough street wise killers look like they can make cameos in a Hello Kitty Saturday morning cartoon. If you are a fan of the arcade game like me you'll notice there is a bunch of material taken out as well like the pitfalls of stage 2 and the ladders are gone so don't expect this to be arcade perfect.

Look, nothing kills the mood of a brutal life or death fighting game like having a bunch of silly background tracks. Try listening to some Kenny G while watching an UFC or Pride fight and you'll know what I mean. The music sounded good in the arcade game but the translation to the Master System just didn't go over too well and the goofy sound effects like the death scene also suck.
The Bottomline:  
I really wanted to like Double Dragon on the Sega Master System here after playing that dreadful NES version but this game managed to do the impossible and be even worse. This game still includes all four levels, familiar characters, and all that junk but what's the point of playing slowly through most of the entire buggy game if you can continue as much as you want with no skill required? It's not fun or challenging, it's just boring! Sadly, stage four is the only level where your unlimited continues are useless and yup, that's when you need them the most. Maybe it wouldn't be so bad if this wasn't a programming nightmare here. The game is hard to control, the characters look like goofy midgets, the sounds feel out of place, and the game play is now way too frustrating thanks to the hit and miss game play. The bottomline is you're much better off with the 50 different Double Dragon's out there and hopefully they will have Maria's underpants showing, eh?

Don't worry Maria, I won't censor you girl.
overall rating: 43/100
Find this game on eBay here!

For 1 player only
graphics: 5/10
sound: 4/10
gameplay: 4/10
replay: 3/10

(Ryan Genno) 2006

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